By virtue of becoming and remaining a member of an Association and having signed an agreement to abide by Association bylaws, every member agrees to bind themselves and the company for whom they act to submit disputes” arising out of a real estate transaction” to arbitration as defined in Article 17 of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics.
Furthermore, membership termination from the Association will not absolve the member of arbitration duty for disputes arising when the person was a member of the Association.
Disputes subject to arbitration include disputes with other REALTOR® members arising out of real estate business and their relationship as REALTORS® (usually over the distribution of a commission).
REALTOR® members filing for arbitration of a dispute involving the responsible broker at the time of the dispute (but not between the member and responsible broker) must have the responsible broker join in the dispute and filing of a complaint.
Members and the Association are not bound to arbitrate disputes between members of the same firm unless each party agrees in writing.
Associations may also refuse arbitrations that clearly did not arise out of the real estate business, are clearly beyond the time frame for submission of an arbitration complaint, are legally too complex, or the amount involved in the dispute is considered too large or too small. If an arbitratable matter is involved in litigation at the time a complaint is filed, the arbitration will not be heard at the Association unless litigation is withdrawn or the courts refer the matter back to the Association.
If a member holds membership in several different associations, another member can file a complaint at any association where the other member holds membership or where both members have common membership.
If both an ethics complaint and a request for arbitration are received concerning the same event, the Association will wait until the arbitration has been concluded before proceeding with the ethics complaint. Also, if more than one arbitration complaint is received concerning the same event, the requests will be combined and considered in one arbitration hearing. And under no circumstances are punitive damages awarded or will an award exceed more than the amount specified in the dispute.
Filing an Arbitration
To file an arbitration complaint you must:
- Complete, sign and date the Arbitration Request Form, which you may download and print from this website.
- Arbitration request forms should be typed or printed and indicate the amount in dispute.
- Include a legible narrative explaining why you feel you are entitled to an award, with any pertinent exhibits and attachments.
- The complaint must be filed within one hundred and eighty days (180) from the date the transaction closes or from the time the facts giving rise to the dispute occurred.
- Include an arbitration filing fee of $250 made payable to the Heartland Board of REALTORS.
- Obtain the complaining broker’s signature on all requests to arbitrate. Arbitration may not proceed with the salesperson as the sole complainant.
- Be sure to determine the necessary and appropriate respondent depending on the circumstances of the dispute—usually the responsible broker in a commission dispute.
Role of Association Staff
The Association’s paid professional staff members are not licensed REALTORS or lawyers. The staff is not allowed to dispense legal advice or counsel you on your case.
The entire arbitration complaint process usually takes a minimum of 3 months but may take longer. It is the ultimate duty of staff to ensure due process to all parties. You can assist staff by making sure that additional requests for information and any pertinent deadlines in the process are responded to in a timely manner.
If you have procedural questions about requesting arbitration, please contact Megan Foos, Chief Executive Officer, at (419) 535-3222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.